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Jamaica's forces end hijack drama

A GUNMAN forced his way through airport security onto a Canadian jet in Jamaica, holding six crew members hostage for eight hours before police and soldiers stormed the aircraft at Montego Bay airport yesterday and captured him.

Nobody was killed or injured in the ordeal, which ended with a raid after talks broke down with a 20-year-old Jamaican gunman described as "mentally challenged."

"We were getting nowhere with the negotiations," Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said. "Police and military went on the plane and captured him."

The suspect identified as Stephen Fray was in custody. Vaz said the "mentally challenged" 20-year-old man was apparently upset over a failed relationship.

The young man boarded CanJet Airlines Flight 918 in Montego Bay and demanded to be flown to Cuba, Vaz said. The plane had arrived from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was scheduled to stop in Santa Clara, Cuba, before returning to Canada.

A total of 159 passengers and eight crew members were aboard the Boeing 737 at the time, according to Jamaican police. Police said all the passengers and two crew members were released after a short time.

The hostage talks failed despite the involvement of Fray's father and two brothers, who helped to get him talking before negotiators reached a dead end, Vaz said.

At least one passenger said the hijacker fired a warning shot after boarding the plane.


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